Tokoloshe Goes Viral…To Promote A Web Site

The tokoloshe mythos took a bizarre turn recently, beginning with a video posted to YouTube, showing a South African couple being interviewed by a television reporter. In the segment, the male homeowner described how a tokoloshe has been repeatedly breaking into his home and generally creating chaos. It had gotten to the point where the homeowners were thinking about moving. But all was not what it seemed to be.

But before we get into the big reveal about the truth behind the video, let’s take a closer look at some of the highs and lows of the clip.

After a brief introduction by an unnamed news reporter, we are introduced to South African Albert Dlomo, a homeowner whose house has recently come under siege by a tokoloshe.

Meet frazzled homeowner Albert Dlomo (via YouTube)

Dlomo explains that his life has basically become a living hell due to the tokoloshe sneaking into the home and doing all sorts of nasty tokoloshe-like things. To prove this, Dlomo then takes the reporter (or at least the cameraman) on a trip through the house, pointing out the damage the tokoloshe has done. For instance, the tokoloshe apparently likes to chow down on dog food, resulting in this rather pathetic shot:

Clearly, the tokoloshe can’t read as it ate from the bowl clearly marked “DOG” (via YouTube)

And I don’t even want to begin to think about that caused this next scene, although Dlomo seemed rather happy to point it out to the viewers at home:

Well, at least the tokoloshe put the seat down (via YouTube)

The most intriguing part of the interview comes when Dlomo plays a video that he recorded himself, on which he believes he captured the image of the tokoloshe. The scene goes by very quickly, with viewers only catching a glimpse of some sort of monkey-like creature sitting on a bed. It’s a fleeting glimpse at best, as when the creature lashes out at Dlomo, he runs frantically from the room, swinging the camera wildly as he goes.

No worries, though, because the news team throws up a still from the video, a la In Search Of… where they have circled and brightened the section which they believe shows the tokoloshe.

As Leonard Nimoy would have said: “is this the image of the mysterious and deadly tokoloshe?”  (via YouTube)

The segment ends with Dlomo restating that he needs to move to a new home.

When I first saw the clip on YouTube, I made the decision not to post it on my blog. Not because I didn’t think it was real. Rather, it was just so bad. By that, I mean that the entire news segment appeared to have been recorded on a cell phone by someone who was watching TV. So throughout the segment, the camera shook and was continually shifting in and out of frame. On top of that, the guy with the cell phone kept giggling and laughing the entire time. It was rather obnoxious. I kept looking for other people on YouTube who might have filmed the news cast as well, but all roads led me back to the one clip by Mr. Shaky Giggling Guy. So I decided not to post anything until I could find another version of the clip.

Well, turns out there is no other version of the video. That’s because the entire thing was designed to be a teaser for a commercial. The product they are advertising is,  a type of search engine that allows you to search properties in South Africa. Their tagline is “when you really need to find a new place”. You know, like if a tokoloshe has decided to move into your current home.

The new commercial/ad is up and running on YouTube now. It is a shortened version of the first video (and not shot by a guy with a cell phone). Only where the first one ended with Dlomo proclaiming he needed to move, the commercial itself continues, complete with a gospel choir and a pasty-white version of James Brown leaping into Dlomo’s living room. And no, I’m not making that up.

Suddenly, Albert Dlomo realizes that living with a tokoloshe might not be that bad (via YouTube)

Concerning the original “teaser” video, it’s still up on YouTube, too. However, the description of the video has since been updated to admit this was all part of an ad campaign. But if you scroll through the comments, especially the first few ones, you can see that it was originally being portrayed as a real news story.

So there you have it; proof that someone as bizarre and, some would say, obscure as the tokoloshe has grown in popularity to the point there it has entered into the realm of pop culture.


You can view the original “teaser” clip (aka: “filmed by cell phone guy”) here.

The full commercial can be viewed here.

2 Thoughts

  1. haha! I live in the city where this was filmed. Absolutely hilarious! Yes they are definitely playing on what is honestly a real, very true belief here in their culture (the Zulu culture). Although for this purpose it was for a marketing campaign, i assure you there are genuine instances where the tokoloshe has been thought to invade peoples homes. it is essentially believed to be a spirit ‘sent’ by people to others they don’t like with the intention to haunt, to cause harm, or to drive their enemy ‘mad’ . They believe in this very strongly and have their own methods of protecting themselves should they feel they have been ‘visited’. for instance, they put bricks under the four bed legs. it symbolizes elevation from the ground on which the tokoloshe walks. just as the greeks have their ‘evil eye’ belief, where someone casts a menacing ‘gaze’ which in turn brings supposed bad luck to the victim, in the zulu culture it’s not just a string of bad luck it is an actual spirit which is sent to exact harm.
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